Daily Homily: Only the Tribe of Judah Was Left

Monday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Year Two

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18
Psalm 60:3, 4-5, 12-13
Matthew 7:1-5

The first reading tells us about the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to the Assyrian kings Shalmaneser V (727-722 BC) and Sargon II (722-705BC). Hoshea, the last king of Israel, was dethroned; Samaria, the capital of Israel, was taken; the children of Israel, the ten northern tribes, were deported and sent into exile in Assyria.

The exile of the northern kingdom is interpreted theologically: the exile came about because the children of Israel sinned against the Lord, their God, because they venerated other gods, because they followed the way of the nations and not the way of the Lord. These three actions of Israel constituted a rejection of the covenant made with Abraham, Moses and David. Only the southern tribe of Judah, from which Jesus descends, was left.

In the book of Chronicles, the sacred author will attempt to explain how God could allow his kingdom and his people to fall. He will show that, not only is the restoration of all Israel possible, as promised by the prophets, but that it is also God’s deepest desire and the fulfillment of his plan for history. «What God has done in the past is the prelude and prototype for understanding his presence and action in the present and how he will act in the future» (S. Hahn, The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire, Baker Academic, 166).

The exile is the inevitable consequence of covenant infidelity: «A child of Israel is either for or against the God of his fathers. … If Israel seeks God, they will find him. If they rely upon him, they will be sustained and prosper. But if they forsake God, they will be forsaken by him» (S. Hahn, The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire, Baker Academic, 166).

God is faithful to his covenant with David and will not allow his people to perish. Even though sin leads to exile, God’s mercy means that the people can be reconciled with him and humbly return to him: «To serve the true God, people must repent and return; they must abandon their foreign gods and set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel in his house at Jerusalem» (S. Hahn, The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire, Baker Academic, 167).

We can read the Gospel in this same light: the judgment of the heart is reserved to God alone. We are able to judge the external actions of others and can help them correct their ways, but even then we first have to look at ourselves. One of the ways of doing this is the practice of examining ourselves in prayer, in conversation with God. Following Saint Ignatius’ presentation in the Spiritual Exercises,Father Timothy Gallagher outlines and explains the examen prayer as follows.

First, aware of God’s love for me, I note the gifts that God’s love has given me this day and I thank him for them. Second, «I ask God for an insight and a strength that will make this examen a work of grace, fruitful beyond my human capacity alone». Third, «with my God, I review the day. I look for the stirrings in my heart and the thoughts that God has given me this day. I look also for those that have not been of God. I review my choices in response to both and throughout the day in general. Fourth, «I ask for the healing touch of the forgiving God who, with love and respect for me, removes my heart’s burdens». Fifth, I look to tomorrow and, with God, see how to live it in accord with God’s loving desire for my life (T. Gallagher, The Examen Prayer, Crossroad, New York 2006, 25).

Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Jason Mitchell

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation